Sprinters are huge!

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Sprinters are huge!

Postby funfetus » Sat Aug 28, 2004 1:36 am

So I've been watching the olympics, and I've noticed, all the sprinters are big, buff guys. This is not what I would've expected from sprinters. Big legs, of course, but they have huge upper bodies, as well, especially their shoulders and traps.

What gives?

I have read that intense anaerobic exercise such as sprinting causes a release of lots of growth hormone. Surely that can't be the only reason. Do sprinters tend to do much weight training? I would guess that they would do a lot of leg training, but what about the upper body? Is having a strong upper body necessary for sprinting? Like, for the arm pump?

Thanks guys.
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Postby kls » Sat Aug 28, 2004 3:44 am

at the risk of sticking my foot in it in again--yes to all of the above! i seem to remember a p.e. teacher mentioning once that the faster you pump your arms, the faster your legs turn over. i was a distancer runner though so...take that with a grain of salt :) the sprinters on the team were always bigger and "buffer" that the "skinny minny" distance people. possible genetic component enhanced by particular training style? also--again walking out on a limb--don't fast twitch muscles pump bigger/take up more space that slow twitch endurance fibers?
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Postby J » Sat Aug 28, 2004 4:59 am

I used to do a lot of sprinting and I noticed that if I truly ran absolutely all out, my muscles (including arms) would feel much fuller later on. Also I think it's a concensus that upper body strength (and lower) does help sprinting speed. Michael Johnson could bench 315 back when he destroyed the 200 meter record.

I'm surprised though at how skinny Jeremy Wariner is. (He's the new 400 meter champ and white!) Maybe that upper body muscle is overrated. Or maybe Wariner (who's only 20 right now) still has a lot potential.
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Postby daisy » Sat Aug 28, 2004 7:05 am

hello,

in my opinion there are some reasons why they are that big:

*like most sport pros i'm sure they dope
*it is easier to develop an extreme body tension for extreme performance if you have muscles everywhere
*they spend most of their trainingtime in the power gym. they especially train 'the speed dimension of their muscles. enduranc (+15 reps.,) hyperthrophy (8-12reps), max power (1-5reps), speed power (6-10reps, but other kynesia -->) you do the negative movement slow and then the positiv movement fast and explosive. so you gain speed.
*if you train legs in the gym, because of the hormone the release of growtz hormones and testo let the other muscles gain too (there were experiments where poeple only exercised leg press and squats and as a result also the other parts of their body gained muscles
*to get a world class sprinter you have to be the quick switch muscle typ (much quick switch muscle fibres, less slow switch muscle fibers)


as far as i know

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Postby funfetus » Sat Aug 28, 2004 12:46 pm

Thanks, everyone. Confirmed all my suspicions. I also forgot to mention steroids, which I figure most olympic athletes are on, and muscle-fiber types, but you guys were on top of those. Anyone know if sprinters tend to do a lot of upper-body work in their weight-training routines? Or is it mostly "spillover" from the leg work?

[quote="emphryo"]
I'm surprised though at how skinny Jeremy Wariner is. (He's the new 400 meter champ and white!)


Yeah, I saw that guy. He is white! I thought of mentioning that (not Wariner -- the apparent dominance of black athletes in the sprinting/long-jumping, etc.) when I started this thread, but I was worried about opening a big can of worms. Looks like it's open, so here we go.

A co-worker and I were discussing that the other day. Every single athlete (I think) in the 100m and 200m men's events was black, and all but one long-jumper was black. Why is this? Genetics? Perhaps when the ancestors of us white folk left Africa for cooler climes, we traded something off for resistance to the cold? Ever since I was a kid, I remember hearing once in a while that blacks have an "extra muscle in their butts" that makes them better runners, but poor swimmers. Never heard it from an authoritative source, so I never gave it much credence. Anyone know?
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Postby kls » Sat Aug 28, 2004 12:55 pm

let me preface this by saying this is purely my opinion based on experiences/observations, but i believe that in addition to whatever genetic/training/steroid factors are involved there is a cultural component. sprints offer instant gratification. distance events are delayed gratification. different cultures value different things. many great marathoner's are black, but they are generally of african, not american descent. that is certainly not to say that there are not exceptions (ie jeremy) and i am not trying to pigeonhole people. just noting what seems to me to be a trend...
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Postby Strix » Sat Aug 28, 2004 4:45 pm

I noticed, and posted previously, that all the runners are getting bigger. The female triathletes are more muscular too.

But bigger muscles for distance runners just means more weight which will eventually slow you down.
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Postby funfetus » Sat Aug 28, 2004 11:19 pm

Also, wouldn't the massive amounts of calories burned in distance running make it very difficult to put on any significant mass?
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Postby Dave Noisy » Sun Aug 29, 2004 12:55 am

On the topic of lack of blacks in some sports, it seems cycling has hardly any black riders.... Watching the tour, it might as well be hockey, in this respect!!

The only black cyclist i can think of is Kenny Williams, from the Seattle area (i believe), and last year at a velodrome competition, he competed in both Senior and Masters categories (he's over 30, so could..rules changed now) and cleaned up in BOTH. He raced every race twice, and still kicked everyone's ass...

Anyway, that's my observation from a white guy in a very white town racing what appears to be a white sport. =(
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Postby daisy » Sun Aug 29, 2004 11:54 am

i also don't know all real reasons, it is difficult not to slide into clischees in this topic :?

but there are some influences:

*genetic: runners from aethiopia and kenia have genetic advantages in long distance running. these two countries are on mountain plateaus (+2000 metres). it is like why european athletes do training on the mountains. you get more heamoglobin and so more oxygen into your blood. perhapy they also have adopted genetically to the hight.
i also think a certain typ of blacks hjave better genes for sprinting, bodybuilding,... (they have certain muscle fibers in the highest amount)

*cultural: if a sport is popualar, if the government gives money to push the sport (training centers), other reasons (i heard that japanese cant run well, because they always eat on their knees and so the blood cant circulate and they grow less)

*social: in th US blacks more often have bad education, bad future because of possible discrimination,....
so for them professional sports is an alternative. a white more often thinks perhaps that he'll find a job, and will give up his basketball training to go, a young black, who has no workplays perhaps more basketball.

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